Spain: The sunken village
DW

A British couple came up with a creative solution to the soaring costs of UK property – they snapped up a French village instead.

As of March 2022, the average UK house price was £278,000, an increase of £24,000 VS last year. Like most people, Paul Mappley and Yip Ward simply couldn't afford to get on the UK property ladder. Ward said that the prospect of buying somewhere "tiny" for more than £250,000 in the UK was "never on the table".

The landscape gardeners from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, headed to France where they found the historic hamlet of La Busliere, Normandy.

The hamlet has a row of cottages, two barns, a stable, a two-storey workshop, a well, a cider press, and a communal bread oven – all surrounded by two acres of land.

The pair, who were living in a static caravan owned by a friend, revealed their plans on Channel 4’s show Help, We Bought a Village! to transform the village into a luxury glamping destination.

Channel 4

Yip was inspired to venture out after a friend offered them an end-of-terrace cottage to buy for just €12,000 (£10,000). They said the decision was a "no brainer" as the place was "in a habitable state." They noted the "sadness" of the other derelict cottage, which prompted them to reach out to the owners of the other properties.

They were ecstatic to learn that the entire hamlet was up for sale for an additional €14,000 (£12,000).

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Channel 4

In the show, Mappley said: "There’s not pots of money for us to do this, but we would like to be able to try to get it to a point where it’s not falling to bits."

He added: "To own any building is a huge dream, but something like this with so much history is an amazing feeling; we’re very lucky to be able to do this. This wasn’t ever on the cards for us."

The estate agent on the Channel 4 programme said similar hamlets were "two a penny in France" and that they were "waiting to be done up."

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